[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Palmyra 12-13-2016 by Ord. No. 773. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Palmyra Borough Noise Ordinance."
Palmyra Borough Council, finding excess levels of sound are detrimental to the physical, mental and social well-being of the citizens as well as to their comfort, living conditions, general welfare and safety and being therefore a public health and welfare hazard, hereby declares it to be necessary to provide for the greater control and more effective regulation of excessive sound and the sources of excessive sound within the Borough of Palmyra.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning.
- A-WEIGHTED SOUND LEVEL
- The sound pressure level in decibels as measured on a sound level meter using the A-weighting network. The level so read is designated dB(A).
- AMBIENT SOUND
- The all-encompassing sound associated with a given environment, usually a composite of sounds from many sources near and far.
- The Borough of Palmyra, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.
- BOROUGH COUNCIL
- The governing body of the Borough.
- COMMERCIAL ZONING DISTRICT
- The Central Business District (CBD) and the Highway Commercial Zone (HC).
- CONSTRUCTION OPERATION
- The erection, repair, renovation, demolition or removal of any building or structure; and the excavation, filling, grading and regulation of lots in connection therewith.
- DECIBEL (dB)
- A unit for measuring the sound pressure level, equal to 20 times the logarithm to the base of 10 of the ratio of the pressure of the sound measured to the reference pressure, which is 20 micropascals (20 micronewtons per square meter).
- EMERGENCY WORK
- Any work performed for the purpose of preventing or alleviating the physical trauma or property damage threatened or caused by an emergency.
- IMPULSIVE SOUND
- Sound of short duration, usually less than one second, with an abrupt onset and rapid decay. Examples of impulsive sound include explosions, drop forge impacts and the discharge of firearms.
- INDUSTRIAL ZONING DISTRICT
- The Light Industrial Zone (LI) and Heavy Industrial Zone (HI).
- MUFFLER OR SOUND DISSIPATIVE DEVICE
- A device designed or used for decreasing or abating the level of sound escaping from an engine or machinery system.
- NOISE DISTURBANCE
- Any sound which endangers or injures the safety or health of humans or animals; annoys or disturbs a reasonable person of normal sensitivities; endangers or injures personal or real property; or is in excess of the sound levels by zoning districts established in § 214-5.
- Any individual, association, limited liability company, partnership or corporation, and includes any officer, employee, department, agency or instrumentality of a state or any political subdivision of a state. Whenever used in any clause prescribing and imposing a penalty, a "person" includes the individual members, partners, officers and managers, or any of them, of partnerships and associations and as corporations, the officers and managers thereof or any of them.
- POWERED MODEL VEHICLE
- Any self-propelled airborne, waterborne, or land-borne plane, vessel or vehicle which is not designed to carry persons, including, but not limited to, any model airplane, boat, car or rocket or any drone.
- PROPERTY LINE (BOUNDARY)
- Any imaginary line drawn through the points of contract lands, apartments, condominiums, townhouses and duplexes owned, rented or leased by different persons, a demarcation or a line of separation of properties and, also, for any two or more buildings sharing common grounds, the line drawn midway between any two said buildings. All areas devoted to public right-of-way shall be deemed to be across the property line. For the purpose of this regulation, the property line includes all points on a plane formed by projecting the property line in a manner deemed appropriate by the enforcing officer.
- PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY
- Any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, sidewalk, alley or similar place which is owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- PUBLIC SPACE
- Any real property or structures thereon which are owned or controlled by a governmental entity.
- RESIDENTIAL ZONING DISTRICT
- The Low Density Residential Zone (LDR), Town Residential Zone (TR), Multifamily Residential Zone (MFR), Manufactured Home Park Zone (MHP), and the Mixed Use Zone (MU).
- An oscillation in pressure, particle displacement, particle velocity or other physical parameter, in a medium with internal forces that causes compression and rarefaction of the medium or the superposition of such prorogated oscillation which evokes an auditory sensation. The description of sound may include any characteristics of such sound, including duration, intensity and frequency.
- SOUND LEVEL
- The weighted sound pressure level obtained by the use of a sound level meter and frequency weighting network, such as A, B, or C, as specified in American National Standards Institute specifications for sound level meters (ANSI S1.4-1971, or the latest revision thereof). If the frequency weighting employed is not indicated the A-weighting shall apply.
- SOUND LEVEL METER
- An instrument which includes a microphone, amplifier, RMS detector, integrator or time average, output meter and any applicable weighting network used to measure sound pressure levels which meets or exceeds the requirements for a Type I or Type II sound level meter as specified in ANSI Specifications S1.4-1971. The manufacturer's published indication of compliance with such specifications shall be prima facie evidence of such compliance.
Noise disturbance prohibited. No person shall make, continue or cause to be made or continued any noise disturbance, or shall any person suffer, allow or permit any noise disturbance to be made or continued from or at any property, whether real or personal.
Specific prohibitions. The following acts and the causing thereof are declared to be noise disturbances and therefore in violation of this chapter.
Radios, television sets, musical instruments and similar devices. Operating, playing or permitting the operation or playing of any radio, television, phonograph, drum, musical instrument, sound amplified, automobile radio, automobile stereo or high fidelity equipment or similar device which produces, reproduces or amplifies sound:
In such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance across a property line (boundary); or
In such a manner as to create a noise disturbance across a property line (boundary) or at 50 feet from such device, whichever is less, when the device is operated in or on a motor vehicle or hand carried on a public right-of-way or public space; or
In such a manner as to create a noise disturbance to any person other than the operator of the device when operated by any passenger or a common carrier.
Yelling and shouting. Engaging in loud or raucous yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing on the public streets between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. or at any time or place in such a manner as to create a noise disturbance.
Construction. Operating or permitting the operation of any tools or equipment used in construction operation, drilling or demolition work:
Between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day on weekdays and Saturdays or at any time on Sundays or legal holidays, such that the sound therefrom creates a noise disturbance across a residential real property line (boundary), except for emergency work.
At any other time that the sound level at or across a real property line (boundary) exceeds 85 dB(A) for a period of one hour.
Domestic power tools. Operating or permitting the operation of any powered saw, drill, sander, grinder, lawn or garden tool or similar device used outdoors in residential areas (see Table I, § 241-5A) between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. so as cause a noise disturbance across a residential property line (boundary).
Loading and unloading. Loading, unloading, opening, closing or other handling of boxes, crates, containers, building materials, garbage cans or similar objects between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. the following day in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance across a residential property line (boundary). This section shall not apply to municipal or utility services in or about the public right-of-way.
Animals and birds. Owning, possessing, harboring or controlling any animal or bird which howls, barks, meows, squawks or makes other sounds continuously and/or incessantly for a period of 10 minutes or makes such noise intermittent for 1/2 hour or more to the disturbance of any person at any time of the day or night regardless of whether the animal or bird is situated in or upon private property; provided, however, that at the time the animal or bird is making such noise, no person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon private property in or upon which the animal or bird is situated or for any other legitimate cause which teased or provoked the animal or bird.
Powered model vehicles. Operating or permitting the operation of powered model vehicles so as to create a noise disturbance across a residential property line (boundary) between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
Vehicle, motorboat or aircraft repairs and testing. Repairing, rebuilding or testing any motor vehicle, motorcycle, motorboat or aircraft in such a manner as to cause a noise disturbance across a residential real property line (boundary).
Generators. Operating or permitting the operation of a generator in any residential zoning district so as to create a noise disturbance across a residential property line (boundary) between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. This prohibition shall not apply during the times that the electric power distribution company is experiencing a power outage affecting more than a single customer on the same block.
Prima facie violation. The noise from any of the aforesaid prohibited acts that disturbs two or more residents who are in general agreement as to the times and duration of the noise and who reside in separate apartments and/or condominiums on which the source of the noise is generated shall be prima facie evidence of a noise disturbance.
Maximum permissible sound levels by zoning districts. No person shall operate or cause to be operated any source of sound in such a manner as to create a sound level which exceeds the limits set forth in the zoning designations category in Table I when measured at or across the property line (boundary) from the sound source. Any sound source, whether stationary or nonstationary, including motor vehicles, that produces sound in excess of those levels shall constitute a noise disturbance.
Sound Level by Zoning Districts
Note: "Residential day" is from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and "residential night" is from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. All levels should be measured without passing traffic sound in the foreground.
Acceptable Decibel Level [dB(a)]
Power equipment/construction at 50 feet
When exceeded. The sound level limits set forth in Table I shall be exceeded when any one or more of the following occur:
The sound at any one point in time exceeds any of the established limits in Table I by a measured sound level of 15 dB:
The sound exceeds, except in the Heavy Industrial Zone, any of the established zone limits in Table I by a measured sound level of three dB continually for a period of five minutes or a total of five minutes out of any ten-minute period.
Ambient sound. In the event that the background ambient sound levels in an area of suspected noise disturbance exceed the levels set forth in Table I, the ambient background sound level shall be substituted at the Table I sound level limit to determine whether the sound exceeds the limits established in Table I.
Where measured. For the purpose of this section, sound shall be measured at or beyond the property line (boundary) of the property on which the sound is received.
Measuring instrument. All sound measurements shall be made on a sound level meter calibrated in the manner required by the manufacturer's specifications.
Exemptions from sound level limits. The provisions of this § 241-5 shall not apply to:
The following sounds are exempted from the provisions of this chapter:
Amplified announcements. Electronically amplified announcements at athletic events.
Blasting, under permit by the Code Enforcement Officer and Fire Chief
Concerts, etc. Band concerts, block parties, carnivals or other performances or similar activities publicly or privately sponsored and presented in any public or private space outdoors shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter provided that:
Emergency work. Sounds caused by the performance of emergency work or by the ordinary and accepted use of emergency apparatus and equipment. Snow removal shall be considered emergency work.
Government and utility services. Sounds resulting from the repair or replacement of any government or utility installation in or about the public right-of-way; utility services shall include the Borough trash collection program.
School and public activities. Sounds not electronically amplified, created by organized school-related programs, activities, athletic and entertainment events or other public programs, activities or events.
Authority for enforcement. This chapter shall be enforced by Borough of Palmyra Police Department and by any enforcement officer appointed by Borough Council.
Any person who shall violate a provision of this chapter or who shall fail to comply with any of the requirements thereof shall be liable upon summary conviction therefor to fines and penalties of:
Not less than $100 nor more than $300 plus all costs of prosecution for a first offense;
Not less than $200 nor more than $600 plus all costs of prosecution for a second offense;
Not less than $300 nor more than $900 plus all costs of prosecution for a third offense; and
Not less than $1,000 plus all costs of prosecution for a fourth or subsequent offense, which fines and penalties may be collected as provided by law.
Cost of prosecution shall include the reasonable attorneys' fees of the Borough. In all actions, the determination of the number of offenses shall be calculated for a one-year period, commencing on the date of the first violation. All fines and penalties collected for violation of this chapter shall be paid over to the Borough Treasurer.
This chapter may also be enforced by an action in equity brought in the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas.